The AI Revolution Cognitive Insights for Strategic Business Growth
Benjamin Brown, CXO of Juji, Inc.
In this podcast episode, Harshit Gupta, Director of Business Alliances at WYTLABS, interviews Benjamin Brown, CXO of Juji, Inc. A cognitive AI provider specializing in chatbots. Benjamin discusses the distinctions between cognitive AI and generative AI, emphasizing Juji’s focus on creating empathetic, context-aware conversations. He outlines applications of cognitive AI in diverse fields, shares his vision for Juji, and highlights upcoming innovations, including personalized learning experiences for higher education. Benjamin stresses the importance of strategic partnerships, customizing key performance indicators for each vertical, and team engagement. His advice for marketers and CXOs includes prioritizing meaningful metrics, investing in efficiency tools, and cautiously growing headcount. The conversation concludes with a rapid-fire round, offering personal insights. Overall, the interview comprehensively explores Juji’s role in cognitive AI, strategic goals, and valuable guidance for navigating the dynamic landscape of technology and marketing.
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Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of WYTPOD. My name is Harshit and I’m the Director of Business Alliances at WYTLABS. We are a digital agency specializing in SaaS and e-commerce marketing, and I’ve got the CXO of Juji Benjamin Brown with me today. Juji In general. Offers chatbot. It’s a no-code AI assistant with cognitive intelligence. A big welcome to you, man, and congratulations on your new role as CXO here.
Thanks, Harshit. I appreciate your having me on and taking the time. We are recording this right before the holiday season, so I’m glad we can get one last discussion in before we bring in 2024.
Yeah, that’s amazing. And I would love to know, how has your transition been from your previous role and what aspects of your experience at Converse now you find most applicable to your current position.
Yeah, I’ll give a bit of background on myself. Again, I’m Ben Brown.
I serve as chief experience officer, or CXO of Juji. Juji is 1 of the world’s leading cognitive AI providers. Cognitive AI is something that hasn’t quite hit the media waves in the same way that generative AI has, but it’s something that we’ll dive into momentarily. As CXO, I oversee marketing sales and customer experience at Juji with a strong influence on product development.
So, it’s that end-to-end customer experience from their very first impression of the brand through, establishing a formal partnership with Juji. And then long afterward, making sure that all of our customers are happy. That they’re enjoying the product, and that our AI is making life easier for the people using the product, the end consumer, and of course, for our partner’s bottom lines.
So, the idea of AI, of course, is that we are augmenting very rudimentary tasks to free up people’s abilities to do even more with their time. Previous to Juji, I was vice president of marketing and customer experience at ConverseNow. ConverseNow is a voice AI company that automates drive-through and phone orders for large restaurant chains.
So, I was really on the front and back end of the customer experience. They’re ensuring people’s awareness of our brands was very sound and that we did a good job educating them. The importance of AI and how it could add value to the restaurant world. And then, of course, with our current partners, making sure that they were happy and showcasing the results that Converse now was delivering to them.
Both organizations serve an enterprise clientele converse now in the hospitality space duty is much more widespread duty serves several different verticals health care, and higher education. Hiring recruiting and market research are the primary entities that target. So, I will take a pause there and just give it back to you.
Hopefully I’ve given a good high-level overview and am happy to go in-depth on anything else. You might want to cover.
Yeah, sure. I would love to know because as a CXO, what exactly your vision is for Juji? And what strategic initiatives do you plan to implement to achieve that vision?
Absolutely, so the cognitive AI I was alluding to earlier is a technology that is strongly emerging, but isn’t on people’s radars in the way that generative AI is. A generative AI, of course, is this remarkable innovation that has touched virtually every aspect of business and consumer life, where you can prompt a service like ChatGPT to answer just about any question, write an essay for you, take care of your social media, whatever it might be.
And there are a million and a half brands that have popped up that leverage the Generative AI technology for more niche fields. At the same time generative AI, as is the case with most AI. It is very I guess cut and dry. It’s asked and answered. So, if you were to look at a chatbot, for example, you know that Juji was a chatbot company earlier.
And understandably, you’re not as familiar with Juji as are most people. Juji is a cognitive AI company. The chatbot is just an accessory. So, most chatbots are ask-and-answer tools. You ask the question, and it gives you an answer, typically scraping it from an FAQ page on a website. And then it just sits idly by for you to ask another question.
What cognitive AI does. Think of it as a, I, with empathy think of it as having a virtual agent on the other end that can empathize with you. They can read between the lines. So, to speak, they can understand the underlying context behind your question and can ask educated follow-up questions in a way that most people take for granted.
But in reality, only. People can do and not machines. For example, if Juji serves higher education, if there is a prospective college student, who’s on a university’s website, who wants to understand if their business school is a good fit for them, then, the chatbot would ask a couple of questions about the person and then the person would say, oh okay, this program, could be a good fit.
But I’m really worried about financial aid and then the chatbot would give them information about financial aid. And then it would say something along the lines of, oh, by the way, are you military? No, I’m not. Oh, do you work full-time? And it would just continue asking these questions that a counselor would otherwise only be trained to ask.
But in this case, the AI is trained to ask. Going further into that example somewhat someone asking a question, I will be able to put that person’s words in the form of a follow-up question that a person would normally be able to do to show. Yes. I’m listening to you. But the machine would never otherwise be able to do.
If what cognitive AI does. It allows people to have deep, meaningful conversations that are typically only reserved for person-to-person interactions and now it enables AI to do exactly that. So that’s a basic overview of what cognition does. The applications are tremendous. It helps, obviously, in the case of our example, it helps college students find a major easier or help a school or help them find a school.
That’s a good fit for a medical school student. It can help them understand what kind of specialty to go into for people hiring mass positions at scale. It cuts down on the interview process where all of these repetitive questions that you have to ask someone over and over, I can do that. Now, when a patient is seeing a doctor, that doctor can create, custom discharge instructions for the patient to recover faster.
It’s just endless and. Going back to your original question on what is the vision behind this? 1 of the big reasons why I joined Juji was to educate the broader community about what cognitive is and the value that it can instill in each of these verticals and instead and. Translating that value into metrics that align with our partner’s bottom lines.
When Juji performs well. How is this going to bring in new sales? How is it going to elevate your staff? Performance and increased retention, how is it going to make you a more financially sustainable business and create a win for your consumers, your staff, and your bottom line alike?
I would love to know Ben what channels are you leveraging or plan to leverage basically for customer education.
Yeah, there are several different levers to pull here. The 1st and foremost, it’s our channels, right? It’s the content that we own, and we can send out on our terms without expending any, digital ad spends on such things.
our website, we have a good content library right now. But it could use some expansion. 1 of the great things about Juji is that the co-founders are scientists. They were lead designers with IBM’s Watson, and they used the vast knowledge that they amassed during their time there.
to create this cognitive AI technology. As scientists, they have dozens of publications that back up all of the incredible results that Juji delivers, the accuracy, the reliability, the inability to game the system in the same way that you would with, any conventional assessment that you would Juji can otherwise automate.
These are all things we have facts to back up the product that we offer, and it’s about being able to translate that very heavy, dense scientific material into much more user-friendly content for people to absorb better. So, case studies, white papers, blog posts, infographics, things like that. So really starting with that owns content.
And then, just building out the automation from Juji’s platform. So being able to, create drip campaigns et cetera, that take our current funnel and better educate them on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it and the value it’s going to have on them. The next element is, of course, events in any B2B enterprise organization.
Events are huge because you want to break bread with the people who can become your potential partners and it means everything to be able to have. That personal high-touch experience for a product that in turn delivers high-touch experiences for our partners. So, my CEO and I recently moderated a panel in higher education at a symposium in Atlanta that brought together some of the country’s foremost leaders in online education and we discussed the impact of cognitive AI on higher ed.
And its remarkable potential to not just increase student enrollment and just empower our nation to become more educated, but to make education more accessible to all. And for these online classes. To have an element of cognitive AI that keeps students engaged beyond the online lectures they have to leave.
Giving every student that personalized high-touch tutoring and mentoring experience that they would otherwise only get during office hours in an on-campus setting. So, there’s, and then of course there’s the paid element of things that don’t need to go into that too much. It just helps us amplify our voices.
So, a lot of really exciting opportunity awaits.
That’s amazing. I would love to know what innovations or, developments can we expect shortly from Juji under your leadership, particularly in terms of product enhancements, new features, and all that you’re planning.
Well, Juji has a lot of really interesting things coming down the pipeline. The 1st thing I’m going to do is give all the credit to Michelle out and co-founders. They are the ones who are truly the masterminds behind this, as well as our incredible tech team when she Dan, all of you all, they’re the ones who make the magic happen.
I’m just the guy who talks about it. They certainly get full credit, but a couple of things I will allude to. 1 is that higher education has an incredible product coming down the pipe. I can’t go into exact detail on it right now. But what I will say is that it is there to deliver that personalized learning experience that we touched on in our last question.
Every student can have access to a personalized learning experience with a virtual agent that can tailor lessons and assessments to their exact personality type and their hobbies and interests. It’s a remarkable thing. We have some really good students. Alpha test results to back this up and we’re excited to share a lot more of that with the higher ed community.
We have a lot in development in terms of market research where just any time that you would need an in-person survey or a live survey, Juji will. It is coming out with a tool to assist with that. So, if you’re having, representatives, taking hour-long calls to ask the same repetitive questions and follow-up questions now, cognitive AI can augment those experiences in a way that a traditional survey never could, because it wasn’t high touch enough and in a way that a regular chatbot couldn’t.
Could not do so because the chat needs to ask contextual follow-up questions. Those 2 elements are cool. And then 1 more just to throw it in for fun. We are working with an event management platform or several, I should say. On a live chatbot that can assist people in the live event space.
So just help give people a much more engaging digital experience to go with any conference or festival that they might be participating in.
That’s brilliant. I would love to know if are there any specific strategic partnerships or collaborations you are exploring for Juji to strengthen its market presence or even offerings in general.
Yeah, some partnerships are key to really any entity within the business world. And because duty serves so many different verticals, we lean on a lot of strategic partners to help us just penetrate these different verticals. When it comes to. Higher education, for example, works with vendors that have built-in relationships with the university leaders that we intend to partner with likewise in the medical world.
There is a ton of compliance that goes into any technology company. Working with a healthcare provider, so working with a partner to ensure that we can meet the compliance standards to integrate with an EMR system, for example, that, you’re dead in the water if you’re unable to do that as a technology company.
Building those relationships with a strategic partner to give us that foot in the door and enable Juji to be compliant so that we can adequately serve our partners not just from the perspective of our technology, but from a safety and security and compliance perspective.
Gotcha. Ben, tell me one more thing in your role what are the key performance indicators and the main KPIs that you prioritize to measure the success and impact of your initiatives? And even if, in your prior experience as well, you have come up with your own set of matrices.
I would love to know, about that.
Yeah, that’s a great question. And the key, the short answer is that the metrics vary by vertical and that it is imperative to speak with your customers before doing anything and understand what are their key metrics. How are they evaluating your success?
And then how can you in turn bridge Your performance to directly translate into the impact it will have on their key metrics? In terms of Juji. We’ll just continue using higher education as an example. We have 2 different groups that we work with 1, our enrollment counselors and directors of recruitment, and their biggest metric is enrollment.
Like, how many new students are we getting in an online setting? You’re not restricted to the number of student people that you can fit in a physical classroom, right? In an online program, it’s, there are no limits, to the number that you want. It’s just about, empowering people to decide to better their lives with that degree from your institution.
If they’re, if their performance measure is enrollment. Then Juji has a way to directly track the number of new students that are applying to the program when, through Juji, that’s a pretty great measure to directly attribute duties performance to the customer. It’s not always that.
Straightforward in terms of, retention, right? Working on, students’ student engagement, making sure they’re not dropping out because the course could be overwhelming or they’re not understanding it, that’s a bit squishy or what we would measure subject mastery.
And student engagement on the Juji platform, in addition to whatever platforms they’re using for the curriculum itself, going back to my time at Converse. Now, restaurants are all about boosting their sales. After a number of in-depth discussions with some of our core customers, we uncovered a couple of great metrics that we can link to Converse now performance.
So, 1 of them is sales per labor hour. Being able to understand the amount of time that people were saving during critical peak hours, as they would be spending less time taking orders and more time making them, we could see. Customers were effectively doubling their sales per labor hour during critical peak hours and being able to share that with a restaurant owner is everything to say, if you have 2 hours to make as many orders as you can during the dinner rush, we’re helping you double those sales.
That adds up pretty quickly and that helps our customers stay pretty happy. So those are just a couple of examples.
That’s awesome. As a leader, how do you plan to engage and empower the team at Juji to align with the company’s vision and goals?
Yeah, it’s, it, every organization is made up of people, of course, and at the core of any business, no matter how advanced the technology is.
It’s really about the people who are creating it and driving it and moving it forward. It’s just about establishing, these deep personal relationships, right? And understanding. What makes your people tick? What motivates them? What, how do they handle constructive feedback? How can I receive constructive feedback?
And having consistent, open, honest communication is at the end of the day the best thing that you can do making sure that you’re leaving no stone unturned that questions aren’t going unanswered, and that your people have the resources that they need to do their jobs effectively and that they know that there’s an open door for them to tell to talk about any time that they need help.
And to be honest in saying when they’re unable to do something and why and to have thoughtful discussions around that. So instead of people doing a C plus job across an overwhelming number of tasks, they prioritize 2 or 3 things and then they can do an A plus job on everything that they set out to do.
It’s just about having Very realistic yet ambitious expectations of people holding them accountable for that and coaching them through the process to make sure that they’re performing beyond what they thought they were capable of. That to me is what I feel is my biggest responsibility and it gives me no greater joy than to see people on my team outperform their expectations and I know that everyone is capable of it.
That’s nice. Now given your extensive experience what advice would you offer to marketers and CXOs navigating this ever-evolving landscape of AI and technology in the marketing domain specifically?
Yeah, I think that the 1st thing that I would say is to go after metrics that matter.
There are so many vanity metrics out there. And look, I get just as excited as anyone else about LinkedIn followers and web visits and, other high-level metrics like that. But at the end of the day, you can have a billion LinkedIn followers and not a single dollar in sales. So, it’s really about what moves the needle and tracking metrics that truly align with the company’s bottom line.
Likewise, investing in people and tools that enable you to maximize your efficiency and productivity. Some tools are very expensive. Some tools are not but understanding. All right. If you have to pay a couple thousand dollars for a tool that will, boost your productivity by 6X, right? Okay, that’s an easy sell because how much would it cost to, increase your workforce by 6x? A whole lot more. Of course, being able to leverage AI, right? Juji’s an AI company. I use plenty of AI tools to help with our content creation our automation and everything like that.
It just streamlines our entire process. We’re a very lead team and I intend to keep it that way. The next item talking about lean teams is that more people is never the 1st should never be the 1st solution to any problem. It’s about 1 coaching your current people to see if they can tackle whatever issue and then looking to bring on a tool that could assist you and your team with tackling that issue.
And then, perhaps thinking about an agency partner or a contractor if needed, but growing headcount is something that you need to be very careful about. Job creation is a really important thing, but, headcount is also a vanity metric for a lot of companies and you have to make sure that everyone on your team is truly an asset and not a liability.
So, hiring is very important for a healthy growing company as long as there’s a very clear business case for it and a very clear scope of work for the individual. Look, I’ve hired plenty of people, of course, and it brings me great joy to do that, but you want to make sure that you are hiring methodically and only after you’ve exhausted all other options and that you have a very clear vision for how that person will fit into the team and how their performance will be measured and tracked.
Awesome. All right, Ben, we’re coming to an end and let’s have some fun around. Let’s have a quick rapid fire. Are you ready for that? Okay. What habit holds you back the most?
What habit holds me back? I would say perfectionism. My background is in content and I am a stickler for style and tone in any sort of copy.
Spelling and grammar as well, but it’s really hard for me to let a piece of content go by that’s not strictly adherent to the brand voice and the brand style. And I find myself editing things way too much for better or for worse.
What chore do you despise doing?
What chore do I despise doing?
Is first personal or professional?
Do it personal.
Oh, goodness. Anything involving green waste. Absolutely. I won’t go into it any further, but I’m not very good about that.
What subject do you find to be most fascinating?
Very biased, but AI is just. All right. All right.
I going into something more personal. I am a diehard foodie. Anything food related I started my career as a restaurant writer in Las Vegas. Yeah, I keep very close tabs on the food world and I’m always looking for the next great dining experience.
Okay. Tell me then what’s something you could eat for a week straight?
Oh, Thai curry. Unquestionably. Okay. It is one of my absolute favorite foods.
What career did you dream of having as a kid?
What career did I dream of having? After that, what every small child wants to do, like a policeman, firefighter, or astronaut the first true career that I envisioned myself as being an architect.
I was fascinated with design. And buildings and, I interned at an architecture firm in high school. I found out the job wasn’t for me. Thankfully, I didn’t invest in a 5-year architecture degree, but I have incredible respect for everything that architects do and Juji’s working with architecture firms right now.
So, it’s cool to, be able to keep the connection there.
Okay. Now coming to my very last question what did you last search on Google?
What did I last search on Google? I would say like best holiday cookie recipe because it’s that time of year when we’re making great treats.
We made some really good Mexican wedding cookies.
Thank you so much, Ben. Thank you for all the time, and all the education that you provided about, cognitive AI. It was an interesting session. I learned a lot. Thank you so much. I appreciate your time.
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